The organ can often take a back seat in the pecking order of great Jazz instruments but underappreciate it at your peril. The likes of Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Booker T and Ray Charles, to name but a few, made the instrument their own while crafting jazz cuts of dazzling brilliance.
While organist Johnny "Hammond" Smith never attained the status of Jimmy Smith, he nonetheless fronted first-rate bands and accumulated a fine discography. Recorded in 1961, Opus de Funk brings together two Smith albums in one package, Stimulation and Opus de Funk. Since the same band – vibraphonist Freddie McCoy, guitarist Eddie McFadden, bassist Wendell Marshall, and drummer Leo Stevens – played on both sets, and since both albums aren't very long by contemporary standards, the pair fit snuggly on the same CD. The really unusual element here is the presence of McCoy, because one doesn't usually associate vibes with jazz organ combos.
The Hammond organ, especially the B-3 combined with the Leslie speaker, has long been an integral part of modern popular music.You can hear the "classic" sound of the Hammond organ in blues, gospel, jazz, rock, and even on some contemporary singer/songwriter songs (try to picture Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" or Procol Harem's "Whiter Shade of Pale" without that distinctive sound).
This killer little Groove Holmes date was produced by the mighty Sonny Lester, and features a big band arranged and conducted by Manny Albam. Other than Holmes, the only other soloist credited here is Eddie Daniels on tenor and flute. The material here is curious upon first glance, with covers of Gerry Goffin's "Go Away Little Girl," Stevie Wonder's "You've Got It Bad," and Carole King's "It's Going to Take Some Time" situated around some hard soul-jazz numbers by the organist, including "Groove's Groove," along with Norman Gimbel's sweet ballad "How Insensitive" and slippery little soul tune "Meditation."
George Bernard "Bernie" Worrell, Jr. (April 19, 1944 – June 24, 2016) was an American keyboardist and composer best known as a founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic and for his work with Talking Heads. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic. Worrell was described by Jon Pareles of The New York Times as "the kind of sideman who is as influential as some bandleaders."
This two-fer CD pairs 1972's Live at the Lighthouse with the less impressive, though still worthy, 1974 album Kharma, which was recorded at that year's Montreux Jazz Festival. As the head of a sextet on Live at the Lighthouse, Earland spearheaded some first-class soul-jazz, which integrated some funk and rock of the early '70s without sounding like a watered-down cocktail of all those styles (as many other soul-jazz-pop albums of the time did). The horn section of James Vass on sax and Elmer Coles on trumpet leaned more toward soul than jazz, as heard on the opening instrumental cover of Sly & the Family Stone's "Smilin'." The Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun" wasn't the greatest tune to attempt, though Earland gamely put it into a boppish swing arrangement.